I’ve been planning to customise my lighting storage for a while now – and this week I finally got round to actually doing the job.
I’ve got a huge Protex case that I store all of my lights in – but up until now I’ve been using the original foam and card packing that the lights came in to protect them. Yeah, that’s right – a whole bunch of closed boxes inside another, bigger closed box. Takes way too long at setup and teardown and, frankly, it just looks a bit shit, too. Furthermore, I like to leave my lighting clamps in-situ on the fixtures between gigs, and obviously the manufacturers’ packaging doesn’t really cater for this.
So, I decided to fit out the Protex case with custom foam-lined inserts to hold all my gear.
First job was to measure up all of my lighting fixtures and select materials for the job.
After a lot of research and reading, I settled on 4mm Correx (think corrugated cardboard but made out of plastic) and 10mm flightcase foam. So… how much to order?
Being a massive geek I did what comes naturally and made a 3D model of what I wanted to achieve using Sketchup (free!). Geeky, very, very geeky. But fun. In a geeky kind of way.
Anyhow, this gave me all the dimensions I needed for materials. After throwing all of this into a Excel spreadsheet, I had a total area for my materials (allowing 10% for wastage). Next step: shopping.
I found everything I needed on eBay and the total buy came to around £50. Bargain – that works out to less than a fiver per fixture! The Correx came in 2m x 1.2m sheets – back to Sketchup to figure out the most efficient way of cutting the Correx.
So, a few days later the various bits and pieces arrived. Time to assemble some tools and get on with the job! The great thing about both the Correx and the foam is that they’ll cut just fine with a decent pair of scissors.
I used Gaffa Tape to hold the individual boxes together, then a hot glue gun and more Gaffa to bind the finished boxes together. Foam linings were simply cut to size from the 2m x 1m roll that I bought then stuck in place with the glue gun. The whole thing dropped into the Protex case in one go (tight squeeze but OK with a bit of wiggling) and that was it – job done.
The lighting boxes have a big piece of Correx as a lid, onto which my truss sections sit. So basically, with the exception of a pair of stands (which I already have a really good padded bag for), my entire lighting rig fits in one case. This is awesome as I’m one of those people who’d rather make as few trips between car and venue as possible.
This one case holds:
- 1 x Acme InvincibLED + clamps
- 2 x Chauvet Mini Kintas + clamps
- 2 x Chauvet Beamshots + clamps
- 6 x Stairville LED Flood Panels + clamps
- 2 x Beamz fixed LED spots + floor stands
- 2 x 1.5m sections of mini-truss
- All the mains and DMX cables needed to power and control the rig
- Truss tools and fasteners
Setup and teardown time is crazy fast now that there’re no stupid cardboard boxes to deal with and all the cables live with the relevant fixture (or, in the case of the truss-mounted lights, are already in place on the truss).
All-in-all this was an easy job that has delivered a stack of benefits – my fixtures are protected, I can handle them more efficiently, nothing moves around in transit and (compared with a bunch of battered cardboard boxes) it looks full-on professional.
Next project – I’ve got some castors in the shed, I’m gonna build a dolly truck for this beast, because the only downside is that fully loaded – it weighs a ton!